Gay Icons and History: October 2011


Zachary Quinto's Halloween Costume

Filed by Bil Browning | October 30, 2011 | 2:00 PM | comments

Last night newly-out actor Zachary Quinto sent out this tweet with a photo of his last minute Halloween costume. What do you think?Read More


Edmonia Lewis: Sculpting Freedom & Independence

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 30, 2011 | 10:00 AM | comments

While many have speculated about her sexuality, Mary Edmonia Lewis was a transformational figure who used her art form to capture the historical legacies of women, African-Americans, and other figures central to black culture and the American Civil War.Read More


Benjamin Franklin: Writer, Inventor, Statesman & Ally

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 27, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

It was in his role as ambassador to France that Benjamin Franklin became the nation's first gay-friendly ambassador, helping a known homosexual escape prosecution and become a pivotal figure in the American Revolution.Read More


Mademoiselle Savalette De Lange, Henriette-Jenny

Filed by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | October 26, 2011 | 10:00 AM | comments

The modern trans movement has a long history, and Mademoiselle Jenny Savalette de Lange of Versaille Palace is a fascinating part of it. Read More

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Abraham Lincoln: A Life in the Closet?

Filed by Mark Segal | October 26, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

With Abraham Lincoln's life, most historians have referred to isolated facts rather than the pattern of events in his life to tell his personal story. Will history once again prove historians wrong?Read More


Frederick Gotthold Enslin: An Obscure and Revolutionary Life

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 25, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

For the rest of his life -- and to present day -- Frederick Gotthold Enslin would become known as the first person to be dishonorably discharged from the military due to his sexual orientation.Read More


The Gay Bar: Children of the Black Cat

Filed by Jesse Monteagudo | October 24, 2011 | 10:00 AM | comments

Much has been written recently about the decline of LGBT bars. But we must never underestimate the impact gay pubs and clubs have in our communities.Read More


Horatio Alger, Jr: From Scandal to Seminal Boys' Storyteller

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 22, 2011 | 10:00 AM | comments

While writer Horatio Alger Jr.'s work has come to symbolize the "rags to riches" possibilities of the post-Civil War 19th-century American dream, his stories were also an outlet for his own desires - fueled by his probable life in the closet.Read More


Deborah Sampson: American Revolutionary War Soldier

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 21, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

Among the small number of women documented as experiencing military combat during the American Revolutionary War is Deborah Sampson, often said to be the first American woman to disguise herself as a man to join the ArmyRead More


George Washington: Gay-Friendly Father of Our Country

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 20, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

Some of the Founding Fathers leaned right, but the majority held what modern historical language would term a secularist and globalist view. In some cases -- like George Washington's -- this included a strongly gay-friendly attitude. Read More


Spoof: Gay Soldier Comes Out (Again)

Filed by Bil Browning | October 19, 2011 | 5:00 PM | comments

Feast of Fun has made a spoof of the gay soldier stationed in the war zone who made a YouTube video of himself coming out to his dad and then a second video about coming out to his mom.Read More


The Advocate vs Anita: Know Thy Enemy

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 19, 2011 | 2:00 PM | comments

This very vintage issue of the Advocate (ca. late 1970s) took aim at the evil that once-famous, later bankrupt, orange juice spokesperson Anita Bryant wrought with her anti-gay stances. Read More


Col. George Middleton: Black Revolutionary War Hero

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 19, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

During the time of the American Revolution, George Middleton was recognized as a great fighter for liberty and independence, and a respected leader among the community of blacks living in Boston, Mass.Read More


Gay Blade: Vintage Magazine

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 18, 2011 | 4:00 PM | comments

I tried to find some history on this 1976 issue of the Gay Blade, and it turns out there is a lot to know.Read More


Franklin Kameny Revised

Filed by Jesse Monteagudo | October 17, 2011 | 3:00 PM | comments

History has neglected the pre-Stonewall "homophile" activists. Even today many histories of the gay movement begin with the Stonewall Riots of 1969, thus ignoring decades of groundbreaking political, educational and social work.Read More


Tributes Honoring LGBT Hero Frank Kameny Continue

Filed by Karen Ocamb | October 14, 2011 | 12:00 PM | comments

One indication of how Frank Kameny secured his own legacy, and therefore the early milestones of the LGBT movement, was by having his memorabilia donated to and curated by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.Read More


Sunny 70s: Vintage Gay Nudist Magazine

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 13, 2011 | 11:00 AM | comments

The cover is coy, but the interior pages left nothing to the imagination.Read More


Katherine Lee Bates: Author of 'America the Beautiful'

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 13, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

Katherine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful," popularly known in the United States as "the other national anthem." Her ode has touched so many lives "from sea to shining sea."Read More

Billy Richards: 1930s Female Impersonator

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 12, 2011 | 3:00 PM | comments

The seductively sweet female impersonator, Billy Richards, popular in the 1930s.Read More


America Has Lost a Hero: Frank Kameny

Filed by Bil Browning | October 12, 2011 | 10:00 AM | comments

It was always an honor to speak with someone I consider a personal hero. If he hadn't stepped out front during a time when it was dangerously radical to do so, I doubt this site would even exist.Read More

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Friedrich Von Steuben: Father of the U.S. Military

Filed by Mark Segal | October 12, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

There are few historians today who would doubt that Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Von Steuben was gay. If George Washington was the father of the nation, then von Steuben, a gay man, was the father of the United States military.Read More

Danny LaRue: Comic Performer & Impersonator

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 11, 2011 | 4:00 PM | comments

I ran a piece a couple of days ago on drag history, featuring photos of female impersonators from the 1880s to the 1950s. I believe LaRue worked in the 60s. Do any of you remember him or know if he's still working?Read More


Betty White on her LGBT Fans and Being 'Hot'

Filed by Karen Ocamb | October 11, 2011 | 2:00 PM | comments

The world-premiere of Luciana and Betty White's "I'm Still Hot" will take place tonight online at 7PM Pacific (4PM Eastern) - the same time it debuts at The Abbey in West Hollywood.Read More

A.W. Peters: Vintage Female Impersonator

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 10, 2011 | 6:00 PM | comments

Just a guess that this is from the 1930s, so am hoping that a reader may be able to pinpoint the date by clothes and hair. Read More


Paula Ettelbrick Dies at 56

Filed by Jessica Max Stein | October 09, 2011 | 4:00 PM | comments

The passing of Ettelbrick, a lesbian legal expert and activist, is a great loss. Read More


Walt Whitman: Poet, Chronicler of War

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 09, 2011 | 2:00 PM | comments

Walt Whitman, the father of both American poetry and modern poetry in general, established free verse as the international norm for poetry in English and celebrated gay sexuality with surprising openness for its time.Read More


'We Were Here': How AIDS Changed San Francisco

Filed by Toshio Meronek | October 08, 2011 | 6:00 PM | comments

We Were Here revolves around the stories of five people who lived in San Francisco during the first-wave AIDS epidemic. For them and many other people, few friends from that time are alive today.Read More


The Great Impersonators: New YouTube Video

Filed by Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 08, 2011 | 12:00 PM | comments

New in my erotic history collection on YouTube is The Great Impersonators: Vintage Drag Divas, a compilation video of vintage images of famous female impersonators from the 1890s to the 1970s.Read More


William Rufus King: First Gay U.S. Vice President?

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 06, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

Some historians have speculated that William Rufus King holds a significant distinction as likely being the first gay U.S. vice president, and possibly one of the first gay members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.Read More


James Buchanan: America's First Gay President?

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 05, 2011 | 8:00 AM | comments

Historian James W. Loewen has extensively researched the personal life of James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, and he's convinced Buchanan was gay, having shared much of his life with William Rufus King, a senator from Alabama.Read More


Anna Maria Lane: Soldier

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 03, 2011 | 9:00 AM | comments

Just beyond the grounds of the Virginia Capitol stands a historical marker honoring Anna Maria Lane, a soldier in the American Revolution. It distinguishes her for donning men's clothing so she could enlist with her husband in the Connecticut Continental Line. Read More


Dr. Mary Edwards Walker: Civil War Surgeon

Filed by Guest Blogger | October 02, 2011 | 3:30 PM | comments

Known for her determination and strength of conviction, Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919) is also remembered as the only woman to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor in the United States military, for her service during the Civil War.Read More